The real question is, why should I read this blog post? There are so many articles already telling me to use a travel agent. I know how to use Google & Trip Advisor, for cryin’ out loud!
Wait, wait…come back! Seriously, this is different. Why? Because it’s my FIRST blog post and, trust me, it’ll be worth it.
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Patty Zesut and I am the Owner/Main Agent of Exemplary Travel Advisors. I’m also a veteran of the US Navy, mom to two crazy-yet-adorable children, and a licensed attorney in the great state of Texas.
Why would an attorney decide to switch careers to become a travel agent, you ask? The quick answer is: I love to travel a lot more than I like going to court. I am also an absolute nerd when it comes to travel-related research. Most importantly, though, I love planning travel of all kinds. Plunging down the rabbit hole of new destinations is kind of my thing. Planning the next trip has been a hobby of mine for so long that planning vacations for other people was just a natural next step. Also, I used to work for a very important Mouse in the past and, frankly, I missed the travel industry.
So, why should you use a travel agent’s services? Well…
What is your time worth to you?
Let’s face it; we’re all busy. Modern life leaves too many of us tired, stressed, head spinning, and wondering how to get it all done. Engaging a travel agent to help you craft your next trip means one less thing on your to-do list and a lot less pressure on you. Vacations are meant for relaxation. Stressing yourself out with planning beforehand is not helpful in this pursuit. A good travel agent takes stress out of the equation. Even better,…
The services of an Agent are often at no cost to the client.
While this does vary by circumstance and agency, the services of a travel agent are often given at no cost to the client. Agents are typically paid a commission on each transaction by the vendors we work with (the tour companies, booking agencies, hotel operators, etc.). That being said, however, many agents are now opting to charge a nonrefundable “Plan to Go” fee to get started because, just like you, their time is valuable. These fees typically go toward the final balance of the bill so it doesn’t cost the client more in the end but it does keep the agent from taking too much time away from serious clients.
Wait, wait…won’t I get a better deal booking it myself?
Maybe? It depends on your definition of a good deal and, again, what your time is worth to you. In many cases, you are likely to get the same or better deal working with an agent as you would booking it yourself but with much less stress. In addition to having special access to many vendors (including many you would use yourself) Travel Agents also have the ability to price-match in many situations. If your Agent doesn’t already know about a certain deal, just ask.
Travel Agents offer excellent value for money. For the same price as a trip you would have booked yourself, you get a single point of contact to handle almost all aspects of your trip and advise you on your destination. Many agents and vendors specialize in certain destinations/trip-types and can easily set up travel on your behalf. This means that you not only get planning services but also access to on-site specialists who can guide you to locations and adventures you may never have discovered on your own. In short, we can get the information you need with much less effort and stress on your part.
Do Travel Agents still book airfare?
In the olden days of travel (basically until the early to mid-90’s), travel agents received a decent portion of their commissions by booking airfare for clients. Since the advent of online booking engines, most airlines have done away with this business model. At this point in time, many Travel Agents won’t book domestic airfare unless it is part of a package. Still, Agents can offer advice on when to book and what to look out for during the booking process.
For international (especially for Business of First Class fares) or group airfare, it’s still worth asking an Agent for help.
Who shouldn’t use a Travel Agent?
Of course, I believe everyone can benefit from the services of a good travel agent. Even if you already know exactly where to go and what you want to do, an Agent can make the process so much easier. Still, maybe you are skeptical or just think you could do a better job on your own. For those feeling this way I would say, give us a try. We are here to help. If you don’t like the experience, you can always go back to doing it yourself. If like the experience but just really love researching and planning, give me a call. I may have a new career path for you.